Impressions: Bendy and the Ink Machine

Bendy and the Ink Machine is an interesting little horror game. This cartoon inspired, episodic horror game has some nice things going for it, but it is far from perfect. With only two episodes released, this is one game we'll keep an eye on.

Bendy and the Ink Machine is an interesting concept. It is a horror game based on old style cartoons and this leads to a wonderful art style. I really enjoy how this game looks through the first two episodes. However, the game still needs some work in the next three episodes to be considered good.

Beyond the incredible and unique art style, especially for a horror game, there just isn't much going for it. the first episode just has you wondering around the work area looking for six different items so you can progress. It is just a scavenger hunt. Bendy isn't even out to get you or anything, he is just an occasional jump scare as you walk around. I don't mind slow going, but there is such a thing as too slow.  I'm pretty sure it is impossible to die in this first episode. There is no sense of urgency or challenge because there is just nothing there beyond the art.

That's not to say that first episode was all bad. It does do a pretty good job of using sound and its cutesy look to catch the player off guard. It also did the job of making me purchase episode 2 to see what happened next, so it must have done something right. It really comes down to the interesting story that is slowly being unraveled. I want to know what is going on with these cartoon monsters and Bendy and the Ink Machine has done a fine job of drawing me in.

Episode 2 is a tad more action packed. If you call walking around a slightly different environment and hitting black blobs of ink action packed. For a horror game, these are some of the least terrifying enemies you could have thrown at me. They die in one hit and I can't even tell if they are doing damage to me. I never got hurt enough to tell if there was any sort of health indicator or not. There were a few puzzles in this one but nothing of any real note. They were all pretty simple, provided you know your instruments.

This episode ended on a bit of cliffhanger and I'll probably go back to finish off the game as the episodes are released, but with the two out now, I have to say I'm not impressed. I'm interested in finishing off this tale, but the gameplay is very dull and uninspired. It doesn't help that despite this being a horror game, I never felt scared of anything. It also isn't helped by the fact that everything is very short. I beat the first two episodes in under an hour.

I do see potential here, but the next three episodes need to be different. They need more exciting gameplay that actually poses some form of challenge. The art style is great, but it needs more variety. Everything just looks the same in the first two episodes and it gets boring after a while. Oh, and it needs to have an option to turn off the damned head bobbing. It gives me a headache and doesn't add anything to the game.

If you're interested in giving Bendy and the Ink Machine a shot, the first episode is currently free on Steam

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